Smudge picked this up at APE 2015 last week. It’s a self-published graphic novel of a webcomic that finished up a couple years ago.

The general high concept is Victorian fantasy, and it delivers on that quite well. The art is the best part of the book, and is very good and clean. Page layouts are generally good, but do seem to wander a bit, and I had occasional problems picking out where I was to look next. I think part of that is the pages weren’t conceived with an idea of how they’d look in a book, and things occasionally go into the gutter. Smudge also feels that this should have been noticeably shorter, and I agree; this shows all the signs of a typical write as you go comic story, so this is really a first draft, and some further thought could have tightened the pacing up nicely.

The story is good at its elements. But there’s only four characters, and we only get to know the two sisters at all well, both of the men in their lives continue to be blank slates. The villain in particular is inscrutable. This may be at least partly on purpose, but there’s no sense of how he was motivated. Was this pure survival? Instinct? Did he, in some way, actually mean what he said?

On the other hand, for a story about four people, with no real action to speak of, it never devolves into talking heads either.